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Archive for the ‘Arkansas’ Category

It’s been about 2 1/2 years since we left Ohio for Arkansas. I really wish I would have kept up with my blogging during that period, but maybe it’s best that I didn’t. While I loved living in Arkansas and so many good things came out of it, I have to admit that the period we were there was one of the hardest times in my life.

There were so many changes that occurred during that time, as well as painful lessons, trials, loss, and revelation. Scott’s sister and her children moved in with us briefly as she and her husband attempted to save their marriage. First, it was just her teen son as she arranged for him to fly in and get settled first as she finished up last minute arrangements back home. That was an adjustment period itself and I regret that my kids struggled with some of the influence he had on all of us, as well as the leniency we showed him because we were trying to make the changes he was going through a bit easier to adjust to. I think our kids felt that we were making too many exceptions for him while holding them to a different standard, and I think they were right. We later learned that they had been exposed to some things they shouldn’t have been exposed to when we weren’t around. It wasn’t until he was gone they felt okay to talk to us about some of their experiences. It really got to me to think that my own children didn’t feel that they could talk to me about their concerns.

Finally, my sister-in-law made it in, and her husband promised to help get the family business settled back home and then he and the other three kids would join her and her oldest son. At that time, we were going to a smaller church we’d found and were just beginning to get involved in, but when my sister-in-law expressed that she was not happy there, we agreed to try to find a church that we could all agree on and go to together. And then we ended up not really going to church at all.

Later, when it was clear that my sister-in-law’s husband wasn’t really devoted to making the changes he needed to make in order to save their relationship, and when it was obvious he wasn’t going to move down to Arkansas as promised, a divorce followed and we all said goodbye to our hopes that they would make it, to each other as his sister and kids moved back, and to the hopes that our family could all finally live in the same town and settle down.

Scott and I really struggled during all this as we went through some major trials ourselves that tested our relationship and shook us both up a bit. Scott ended up taking on two separate roles with the company he works for – that is two full-time careers – and ended up in a near zombie-like state. That was miserable for both of us because even when he was physically present, he really wasn’t even there during a time when our entire family needed him as we went through other issues and hardships. When he asked his boss for help, he was promised resolution and assistance but nothing ever happened. Months followed and nothing changed. He and I both tried to deal with this and other issues on our own and in our own way, and that only made things worse. I think we both ended up hurting each other and ourselves in the process.

On top of that, I was already vulnerable due to other things going on, and ended up dealing with major self-worth and body image issues. I was fed a few lies about myself, and because I tend to believe the lies a lot easier than I do the truth, I lost myself. I was miserable inside, and couldn’t help but think that he was comparing me to every other woman out there. I suddenly only noticed every physical feature other women had that I didn’t and felt that there was no way my husband could be happy with me – with all my flaws. My scarred, stretched belly, and broken down body was ugly after having his children. How could he NOT want other women after looking at me? What was I? I was a stay-at-home mom…a housewife. What could I possibly have to offer him that was so great? Suddenly, I found myself striving too hard for my husband’s approval, affection, and interest. I noticed I was spending more time on my make-up, hair, etc.

Next, I contemplated plastic surgery. I even called and made an appointment to see a plastic surgeon for a consult – twice. But deep down inside I knew I would hate myself for trying to cover up the damage with a superficial bandaid of sorts. So I cancelled the appointments both times knowing it wasn’t the answer for me. I knew my problem wasn’t going to be fixed with surgery. I’d still look in the mirror and be the same insecure and lost woman trying to grasp hold of whatever it was I needed in order to feel whole and valued. I didn’t need to fix my body, I need to fix my head and needed healing in my heart and broken spirit.

So instead, I ended up going to counseling.

During this time, Patrick went to counseling too. We discovered he too, was struggling with his own issues. As we took a step back and really looked at the situation, we realized that our whole family was falling apart in a sense, and we couldn’t keep it together on our own. We realized we were relying too much on our own strength to make it through the hard times, and we really weren’t strong enough to make it on our own. We realized we’d kind of put God up on the back shelf and stopped seeking and relying on Him to guide us through the darkness.

The darkness – it was so, SO dark. Even as I read this, I can feel the darkness, the desperation, the helplessness, the sadness, the emptiness – all of it, attempting to creep back in.  I never ever want to go back to that dark place again.

But somehow, by His patience and grace, we made it through as truth was revealed and healing set in.  We learned a lot. Our dependence on God has grown as we realized how easily we slipped into a state of self-reliance. We now realize how He truly is the only one holding our family together.  It is not us!

We are weak without Him, and we will never make it if we try to do this on our own. It’s humbling and inspiring at the same time, because through all of the darkness, we’ve had a taste of His goodness.  He didn’t let us down, even when we were letting Him and each other down.

So here we are now, just as life was finally starting to get back to “normal.”  Just as I was finding myself again.  Just as I was truly establishing relationships and just as we were enjoying life even through the craziness…we suddenly are called to move back to Ohio.

And as I type all this out and reflect on the last couple of years, I am thankful that God had the patience and grace to work even in the darkness to reveal His truth to us.

It’s funny too, because it seems that God wants to make sure I don’t forget.  He seems to be speaking to me through my 3-year-old a lot lately.  Just last night she asked me a very serious question as she was coloring in her book, “Mom? Do you need Jesus?”

“Yes, America! I DO need Jesus!”

“Yes you do!” she replied enthusiastically.

The truth is, we all do.

YOU DO.

He is not just a free ticket to Heaven, He is so much more.  He is a loving God who wants us to be free from the things that hold us captive in our lives.  We do not have to be slaves to our sin, our past, our pain, nor weaknesses.  Where we are weak, HE is STRONG.  If we are willing to give ourselves to Him and totally rely on Him and walk in obedience, He will rescue us!  But we have to be willing to rely on Him to meet all of our needs.

He truly is a good and loving God, and I need Him!

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Wow…it’s been over a year.  I suppose I have some catching up to do! 

First things first…life has been crazy.  The adoption process has been put on hold, and Scott and I have both been stretched beyond what we can handle on our own.  I know, I know…many Christians out there say that God won’t give us more than we can handle, but I disagree…and this post here explains my thinking on this topic.  But I won’t get into this one right now…

I’ll just focus on summing up the last year:

1.  Started the adoption process.  We completed the classes, turned in all the paperwork, completed our home study, and waited for the phone call from the adoption specialist.  Instead, after finally calling the office myself and being told our file was in order (after they found it…yes, it was lost, then found), we get a letter in the mail stating that we were still missing information and needed to send it in.  Frustration settled in, I lost motivation, and didn’t even bother trying after that point, which turned out to be okay because…

2.  Scott’s sister and oldest son ended up moving in with us.  It only lasted a couple of months, and it was a very hard, trying, learning experience for us, but God has taught me so much through everything that happened and I am thankful that God knows me better than I know myself.  He knows what’s best for our entire family and I trust and am thankful that He is in control of all things…even when things don’t make sense!

3.  Scott has been working two roles (equivalent to TWO JOBS) for his company the last several months and it has been very, VERY trying and hard.  IF we’d had a child placed in our  home during all this other stuff we’ve been dealing with, we would have certainly failed.  However, God has continued to stretch, grow, and teach us through all of this…and I feel that Scott and I are closer than we’ve ever been.  He is still working both roles, but I’m confident that the company is going to finally start transitioning him off one role so we can stop living in survival mode and get back to living our lives with direction and purpose!

So…where does that leave us?  That leaves us back where we started over a year ago.   Several days ago, Scott felt that God told him that we are still supposed to adopt.  I felt the same thing, but didn’t really say anything to him until he mentioned it one night.  For me, it was just confirmation.  I don’t think it’s going to happen overnight…it may be another year before we have a child placed with us.  And I know my husband is still dealing with too much with work to pursue this, but I am going to take the first steps towards getting the ball rolling again because I know that even if I do my part, it’s still going to be a very long process! 

So I’ve found my motivation and am going to turn in the rest of that paperwork.  The state may make us start completely over at this point…and we may even decide adopting through the state isn’t the way we want to go…but for now, it’s where we are at.  Dwight is heading off to his first year of college next fall…and I don’t think we will have a child placed in our home before then.  But God’s timing is perfect and I am learning to just be patient and let God’s plan catch up with me and when I think things should happen.  So I am just going to be obedient, do what I can do, and let God do the rest.  If it all happens in three months…then okay.  If it takes 10 years, I’m okay with that too.

Trying to force things into my timing never works anyway!

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I’ve been struggling the last few weeks.  I guess the reality of the move has settled in finally!  I do this.  I go through the emotions of saying goodbye to friends I had and having to start over again.  I feel lonely, I whine and complain, and cry.  I struggle to keep a good attitude, even though I am blessed beyond comprehension.

So the last week or so it has hit hard.  I told my husband that I feel drained dry.  I feel like I have to put so much effort and energy into developing relationships and then once I finally start to get them established, I have to say goodbye.  I often feel like I am the one who has to reach out over and over again, and I’m just tired of it.  “For once,” I told him, “I just want someone to reach out to me.”

And I think part of that feeling has hit me so hard because my husband has so many connections and he does have people reaching out to him.  I have another friend who moved here recently and I’m seeing her thriving and going out with the girls…and when you are in a situation like mine, you can’t help but wonder so many things, like why the invites aren’t coming your way.

So I finally just let it out during some prayer time this last week.  I let God know how I feel – lonely, rejected, sad, tired, weak, neglected.  I whined about the sacrifices I’ve made.  I complained about following my husband around with every move and not feeling like I’m getting much out of it.  “I give and give and give,” I whined.  “And I get nothing in return!”  (Not exactly true, I know!)

And I’m certain God was listening patiently.  He let me have my rant.  And then when I was done, this stupid, stupid, STUUUUUUUUUPID song started playing in my head:

Come on, get your, get your head in the game
We gotta get our, get our, get our, get our head in the game
You gotta get your, get your head in the game
We gotta get our, get our, get our, get our head in the game

Stupid High School Musical. I’ve watched that movie once…ONE TIME. How in the world is it that this song started up in my head?

Then I felt God speak to my heart.  He told me that I need to remember what this is all about. While I am looking at all these moves as supporting my husband, following him around so he can get promoted, etc., I’ve forgotten that God’s hand is entirely in every single move and promotion and relationship I develop.  I’m not following my husband around, I’m going where God has told us to go, each and every time.  Every time He opens the door for us to move, He has a purpose to it, and His purpose has an eternal result in mind.

The sacrifices I’m making should not be for my husband, children, or even myself, but for God.  The promotions and blessings we receive through all these moves and actions we take are blessings from God, not the reason why we move.  Where much is given, much is required.  And the truth is, God has called me to live a life that I would never have picked for myself.  I lived the first 20 years of my life in one small military town.  I always assumed I’d grow up, get married, and live in one place forever.   My personality is not one geared for this kind of lifestyle, but how often does God call those who are prepared and strong to walk in the things He calls us to walk in?  He often chooses the weak, the inadequate, sometimes even the unwilling to go and do His work, so that His glory can be shown through it.

The things I miss, the loneliness I feel, is temporary.  I have an eternity of fellowship waiting for me at the end of this road.

So, once again convicted and thankful for God’s love and patience, I’m back in the game.  It’s not to say I still won’t hurt or be sad as I face the loneliness – I am after all, human!  But God is in control and if I rely on Him and wait patiently, I know He will bring the kind of friends my heart desires.  Women who will reach out to me in return.  Those I can rely on in a time of need.

In fact, it’s already starting to happen.  It was kind of funny.  Just after having that conversation with my husband, and God, I texted a newly met friend to let her know I wasn’t going to make the women’s Bible study we both joined because Madison was sick.  She texted me back, “I’m sorry to hear that.  Missed ya, do you need anything that I could pick up for you?”

I was touched.  Her thoughtfulness and willingness to do that for me meant more than she will know.  And I’m sure God was smiling on me as I read her message.  Sometimes I forget He really hears my prayers, and then I’m amazed at how quickly He responds, especially when I get my head in the game!

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and low.  This move feels like too much on some days. 

Scott just got off the phone with me.  He’s in Fayetteville right now and found a note in the door of our new house from the water company.  They are refusing to turn on the water until numbers are screwed into the stone on our house.  I guess the previous owners re-bricked the house and never put the house number on the house, so my exhausted husband is running  BACK to The Home Depot he just came from to buy some numbers.  I’m guessing he’ll probably have to buy a drill and some screws too since his tools are here in OHIO. 

It all makes me so angry and I just feel that is going a little overboard considering how difficult they were about getting the water turned on in the first place.   We’ve moved places where all you have to do is make a phone call, but not here.  No, you have to drill numbers into your house before they will turn the water on!  What really pisses me off is that if Scott weren’t there this week, we would have shown up with all 6 of our kids, 2 dogs, and NO water.  I just think that is WRONG.

DO YOU HEAR ME CITY OF FAYETTEVILLE?  WRONG!

Yes, I’m ranting.  Scott & I just don’t need any more stress at this point.  Moving is tough and with the stress and strain of it all, we’ve found ourselves arguing more.  I know it’s normal, but it just makes it all that much more exhausting.

I’m excited about getting there, because this whole moving process has been dragging on for months.  I’m tired of showing our house (or should I say, cleaning up after 6 kids in a mad rush to show the house?), and tired of not feeling settled, and I just want to get the impending tearful goodbye done and overwith so I can have a good cry and move on. 

And I’m trying so hard not to freak out about the future.  Life as we know it is about to change forever with this move. 

Donavan will be graduating highschool during our time in Fayetteville for one.  I can’t believe I’m about to have a kid who will be a legal adult in 2 years.  He wants so badly to join the Army, and even though Scott and I think it is the wrong move for him, we’ve agreed to support him and found a military summer camp to send him to right after we get moved in.  It will be 2 weeks long, and a “realistic basic training” course. 

Donavan will either come back more fired up than ever about going into the military, or he’ll decide once and for all that he hates it.  Only time will tell!

I am still fighting off anxiety attacks about this whole small town thing.  Just the idea that everybody knows everybody and so much about everybody makes me a little nervous.  (And all that much more pissed off that the loser water guy wouldn’t turn on the water.  Dude, can I send you a bill for the drill and screws?) 

With this move is the knowledge of us moving further away from Tina and her husband and kids.  I am taking it harder than I thought.  I hope that we can work out some good visits, but I know how quickly summer flies by and with work and school, it’s going to be tough! 

And the fact that Scott and I just met the coolest couple with whom we’ve connected so quickly.  ARGH!  Why do I always make the best friends right before moving?  So unfair!

I am really, really, really hating this moving every 2 years thing…I feel like my life gets put on hold, and then I have to restart it all over again with new friends, new places, new everything, and by the time it all gets familiar, we leave.  I’ve had a few tearful nights where I’ve confessed my loneliness to my husband, because it really is a lonely life for someone like me who takes a while to really make good friends.  I can open up so much at first, but to really connect with someone, it just takes me a while…or when it’s one of those kindred spirit type things, it’s right before we leave. 

Okay, I’m done complaining now.  (Or as I tell Scott, “venting!”)  Emotions will probably continue to go up and down as we leave and arrive.  I’m trying to stay positive and there is certainly a lot to look forward to, I just had to, you know, vent.

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